Miniature tea caddy
Object Place: Gardner, Massachusetts, United States
3.9 x 2.8 x 1.9 cm (1 9/16 x 1 1/8 x 3/4 in.)
Medium or Technique
Not On View
The workable tea caddy has a curved top. Its sliding lid is fitted with a knob finial and small applied button with rod extending into caddy, which acts as a stopping mechanism when opened. The straight-sided rectangular body with applied molded rim and baseband is rather restrained, although the interior is washed with gold.
Arthur Stone created miniature toys and silverware throughout his career. A comparison of the early less-restrained pieces made during his short-lived partnership with J. P. Howard & Company of New York, as well as the later miniatures designed for his own shop, reveals a notable contrast in aesthetic sensibilities. Stone’s taste was for simple lines and chaste decoration. Howard offered more than 180 patterns in his line of “solid silver toys,” seventy-five of which he marketed in an 1895 brochure entitled “Novelties for Christmas.” The catalogue encouraged would-be buyers to start or expand their own collections, noting the centuries-old tradition in Holland of passing down large miniature collections. In offering an
eighteenth-century-style two-handled cup, Howard may have been capitalizing on the appeal of heirlooms, just as Stone did with his mid-eighteenth-century-style tankard. Despite the diminutive size, great pride was taken in the skill and quality of production. Howard claimed that his miniatures were indestructible and far superior to the stamped antique versions; some pieces, such as Stone’s candlesnuffer and tea caddy, even had moving workable parts.
This text has been adapted from “Silver of the Americas, 1600-2000,” edited by Jeannine Falino and Gerald W.R. Ward, published in 2008 by the MFA. Complete references can be found in that publication.
"STERLING / Stone," with profile of an incuse chasing hammer stamped across St, and "h" struck on bottom
Arthur and Elizabeth Bent Stone estate to their companion Annie E. Priest (1872-1972)l by descent to Alma Bent (about 1921-92), Stone cousin; 1979, gift of Alma Bent to the MFA
Gift of Miss Alma Bent